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2-48                                   . VERDICT OX IXDIA
out at random. His attitude is summarized in the reply he heut «
to the manager of the goshala (cow asylum), who had written to
him for advice. The facts, as given by this man, were as follows:
'There are in my charge 500 head of cattle. They are all utterly
useless for any purpose and are simply eating their heads off. Out
of these from 350 to 400 animals on the average are constantly at
death's door, destined to die off one by one. Xow tell me what
I am to do ?'
If Gandhi had replied with the three words *Shoot the lot' he
would have paid a greater service to India than a thousand non-
resistance campaigns; he might have started a revolution in
thought which in its turn would have started a revolution, in agri-
culture and given the peasants their first impetus to rise above
the servitude of their lot (He would, incidentally, have greatly
endeared himself to writers of books on India by saying something
which it was possible for them to understand without reading it
sixteen times and going into a trance—only to discover that he
had contradicted himself on the next page).
But Gandhi did not say * Shoot the lot/ The phrase is far totn
direct, too blatantly Anglo-Saxon, apart from the fact that it runs
counter to his much advertised worship of the cow. He got out
of it very cleverly—firstly, by completely evading the issue, and
secondly, by throwing the blame on somebody else, in this case,
the management. He wrote:
' It is incumbent upon them (the management) and upon the
organizers of all simply placed institutions to devise the most
effective means of nursing and ministering to the needs of diseased
and ailing cattle/
For which bright and practical words, the dying beasts, the
cancerous cows, the calves with broken legs, doubtless murmured
a grateful' moo/